Economy

Bombay HC refuses to stay mandatory gold jewellery hallmarking

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 28, 2021

But directs govt to restrain from levying penalty for non-compliance given the ongoing Covid situation and lack of hall-marking infra

The Bombay High Court has refused to stay the implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery but directed the government to restrain from levy of any penalty for non-compliance given the ongoing Covid pandemic and lack of hall-marking infrastructure.

Hearing a petition filed by Pune Saraf Association, Justices SJ Kathawalla and Surendra P Tavade said the apex court had recently held that when considering an application for staying the operation of a legislation and that too pertaining to economic reform, the courts must bear in mind that unless the provision is manifestly unjust or glaringly unconstitutional, the courts must show judicial restraint in staying the applicability of the same.

Considering the purpose of implementation of mandatory hallmarking, the Court said it is not inclined to stay its effect and operation.

However, owing to the on-going pandemic and lack of infrastructure of hallmark centres, the Court has restrained the Government from taking coercive action against the jewellers for breaching the norms.

Also read: Mandatory hallmarking of gold to be implemented from June 15

Having said so, the court order said jewellers should achieve maximum hallmarking possible in the on-going circumstances from the hallmarking centres currently operational in their respective districts.

Posting the next hearing to June 29, the court directed jewellers to file an affidavit detailing the step-by-step procedure to effectively implement mandatory hallmarking.

Jewellers’ claim

Earlier, the jewellers claimed that of the 733 districts in the country only 245 districts have assaying and hallmarking centres making it difficult for them to comply with mandatory hallmarking.

Responding to this claim, the Court observed that jewellers cannot seek a stay on the entire subordinate legislation especially when there are already hallmark centres in 234 locations across the country.

Setting up of hallmark centres is a market-driven activity and once the pandemic situation normalises and demand increases new hallmark centres would come up.

Meanwhile, the Government has extended the deadline for implementing mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery to June 15, from June 1. Hallmarking will ensure jewellery buyers get the right purity of gold for the price they are paying. At present, only 30 per cent of Indian gold jewellery is hallmarked.

Published on May 28, 2021

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